Israeli armored vehicles are in demand in Iraq

MDT Armor’s assembly plant in Israel – MDT’s vehicle armoring business has years of battlefield experience and has provided life-saving protection under the most extreme conditions, which include assault rifles and bomb blasts. An Israeli company – MDT Armor – …

MDT Armor’s assembly plant in Israel – MDT’s vehicle armoring business has years of battlefield experience and has provided life-saving protection under the most extreme conditions, which include assault rifles and bomb blasts. An Israeli company – MDT Armor – that manufactures vehicular armor, has recently supplied four armored vehicles to be operated in Iraq, including two vehicles for an unnamed embassy in Baghdad.

The company, a subsidiary of Arotech Corporation, has already delivered the two vehicles to the embassy, according to Jonathan Whartman, Senior Vice President of Communications.

The two other vehicles are being assembled for delivery to Iraq in the near future.

In addition the company has begun operations in a new facility in Auburn, Alabama, following an announcement that the US General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a contract to MDT Armor for vehicle armoring.

“Our armored vehicles have proven themselves in battlefield conditions” said Robert S. Ehrlich, Arotech Chairman and CEO. “MDT vehicles will help protect the lives of those serving in Iraq.”

MDT is a leader in state-of the art, lightweight armoring of vehicles, ranging from light tactical to passenger vehicles. MDT’s vehicle armoring business has years of battlefield experience and has provided life-saving protection under the most extreme conditions, which include assault rifles and bomb blasts.

MDT is a qualified supplier to the Israeli Defense and Transportation Ministries and to the Police Department. It has been active since its establishment in 1989 by Yosef Bar as a local pioneer installer of armoring kits on vehicles, mainly against vandalism. Since those early days MDT has evolved into a vehicle armoring plant for all type of vehicles with an armoring capability of 25 vehicles per month. 27 different vehicle types have been armor-protected so far and at present two production lines for van armoring are operative simultaneously for ‘Savannah’ and ‘Defender’ types.

“A Land Rover Defender took 29 bullets during a terror attack in Hebron in November 2002, and none of them penetrated the vehicle,” Whartman told ISRAEL21c. “In another incident, a U.S.-built Savannah van armed with MDT armor was being used as a school bus when a bomb exploded just outside. None of the children inside were hurt.”

According to Whartman, MDT has many advantages for providing armored vehicles in Iraq. “First, we have vast experience here in Israel. The environment in which we operate is very similar to what the troops are facing in Iraq – the same type of enemy, the same tools and weapons. There’s also similar weather and physical environment which is important when you’re building sealed cars.”

The armoring materials utilized by MDT are either metallic or lightweight composites, all of which – being either in-house products, or products of well-reputed producers – are ballistically proven.

“The significance of the lightweight material is the lighter the car, the easier it is to move, maneuver, and it’s less costly in maintenance and it provides a longer life,” said Whartman.

Those features have interested the American government, which has awarded a five-year contract to MDT which establishes a pricing schedule for armoring of GM Suburban and Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs and of GM Savana/Express passenger vans.

Established in 1949, the GSA, acting as a business manager and purchasing agent for the Federal Government, provides other federal agencies with more than $50 billion worth of office space, products and services per year. This award qualifies MDT Armor to provide its range of battlefield proven armored vehicles to all agencies of the federal government.

“If a government office wants to buy pencil, he doesn’t put out a bid, he just buys from the schedule provided by the GSA,” explained Whartman. “The GSA negotiates with vendors, and once a deal is approved, it’s on their schedule. So any federal agency can purchase according to the schedule without going to bid.”

In order to provide the Federal government with future orders, MDT has recently opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Auburn, Alabama. “The Auburn plant is pegged for the American market – since American agencies require the assembly to be done in the U.S.,” said Whartman.